1.The purpose of these draft Regulations is to prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens aged under six months if they were not bred by the seller. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) explains that the instrument seeks to strengthen protections under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Under the current rules, people may purchase puppies and kittens only from a licensed third-party seller, directly from a breeder or from a rescue and rehoming organisation. This instrument would require those who have a pet selling licence also to breed the puppies or kittens they advertise for sale, in effect banning, from April 2020, the sale of puppies and kittens by pet shops or third parties which do not breed them. Defra explains that the proposals are being introduced following public consultation and an e-petition which highlighted concerns about the welfare of puppies and kittens sold by third parties, and widespread public support for prohibiting such sales. According to Defra, there are currently some 63 pet shop licence-holders selling puppies and 129 licence-holders selling kittens in England. With regard to enforcing the new rules, the Department told us that:
“Local authorities have to inspect businesses before they issue or renew licences, and in addition they have powers to inspect at other times, for example when they need to act on intelligence or reports of malpractice by licensed pet sellers. [T]he local authority can use the enforcement powers and procedure … to suspend, vary or revoke a licence. [It] may charge such fees as it considers necessary for the reasonable anticipated costs of consideration of a licence holder’s compliance with the regulations and the licence conditions to which the licence holder is subject. [L]ocal authorities can also raise resource through fees for the reasonable anticipated costs of enforcement against unlicensed operators who should be licensed. It will be for local authorities to decide on their enforcement and inspection policy.”
2.According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the main purpose of this instrument is to enable the Secretary of State, and the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) on their behalf, to investigate claims about unsafe consumer products. Under the current arrangements, investigatory powers, as listed in Schedule 5 to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, apply to enforcement authorities under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (“the 2005 Regulations”), including local authority Trading Standards and district councils in Northern Ireland, but not the Secretary of State or the OPSS. The 2005 Regulations cover all products that are not subject to sector-specific product safety legislation. The changes would allow the OPSS, on behalf of the Secretary of State, to investigate claims of unsafe products where there is a national incident and where local authority Trading Standards, or other relevant enforcement authorities, lack the resources or expertise to carry out an investigation. BEIS expects the investigatory powers to be used infrequently, as Trading Standards departments deal with local incidents and there are few incidents requiring a national response. BEIS explains that the instrument builds on the work of the OPSS’s predecessor organisation, the Regulatory Delivery Directorate, in response to the Grenfell Tower fire, and the OPSS’s current review of Whirlpool’s actions in relation to a modification programme for tumbler dryers. The instrument also proposes to ensure that both the Secretary of State and the relevant market surveillance authorities are able to use the same set of investigatory powers in enforcing the regulation of gas appliances and personal protective equipment.
3.Proxy advisors offer voting services and advice to shareholders in publicly listed companies. However, there have been concerns about a possible lack of transparency in the way proxy advisors deliver their services, and the resulting risk of low-quality services. Article 3j of the revised EU Shareholder Rights Directive places requirements on proxy advisors to make certain disclosures about the way in which they conduct their business, and this instrument transposes those provisions into UK law. These Regulations, laid by HM Treasury, place disclosure obligations on proxy advisors with regard to how they conduct their business, including whether they apply a code of conduct, how they produce their advice and voting recommendations, and how they manage conflicts of interests, with the aim to increase transparency and assist investors and asset managers to make informed decisions. This instrument makes the Financial Conduct Authority responsible for enforcing the requirements in Article 3j and gives it powers to sanction breaches of the obligations in the instrument through public censure and/or financial penalties.
4.The purpose of this instrument is to increase the maximum amount that the Meteorological Office (Met Office) may borrow from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) from £200 million to £300 million. BEIS explains that the Met Office is responsible, on behalf of the Government, for subscriptions to international satellite programmes, and that the costs of these subscriptions vary during the lifetime of the programmes, including due to currency exchange fluctuations. According to BEIS, substantial upfront investment is needed before the launch and operation of satellites and the most efficient way for the Met Office to manage these payments is to borrow funds from BEIS. The Department says that these loans are repaid over 10 years from income the Met Office derives from contracts with customers which subscribe to its services once the satellites become operational. BEIS explains that the increase in the borrowing cap is needed to fund the upfront investment in two new EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) satellite programmes. EUMETSAT is independent of the EU; it is an intergovernmental organisation that was founded in 1986 and supplies weather and climate-related satellite data, images and products to the national meteorological services of its member states and other users worldwide. BEIS says that this will be the first increase in the borrowing cap since the Met Office was established as a Government Trading Body in 1996. The original Explanatory Memorandum (EM), laid before Parliament alongside the instrument did not include any information on the costs of the two new satellite programmes, the actual borrowing requirements, or the time needed to re-pay the loans to BEIS. We asked the Department to revise the EM to include this information and welcome that an improved EM has been made available.
5.In May 2013, the then Home Secretary created the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel (“the Panel”) to investigate the circumstances of the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan, its background and the handling of the case over the period since 1987. The Metropolitan Police has admitted that police corruption was a “debilitating factor” in the original investigation. The Panel believes that the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) holds information that is relevant to its investigation but disclosure of it requires an Order made by the Secretary of State. This is the first such Order. The Order is permissive: it is left to the CCRC to decide whether to disclose the information or whether to redact any sensitive or privileged documents. The Panel itself has a clear protocol on the disclosure of documents, which states at paragraph 6(b) that it is expected that the organisation providing the information will work with the solicitor to the Panel to identify a mechanism by which unredacted disclosure of the material in question may be made. The Committee took the view that these were important issues and the House may wish to monitor developments.
6.An EU Council Regulation, which came into force on 17 May 2019, establishes a new EU sanctions regime to deter and respond to cyber-attacks threatening the EU or its Member States. It introduces a framework for targeted restrictive measures, and an Annex to the Council Regulation will contain a list of designated persons to whom the new financial sanctions provisions apply. These include the freezing of funds and economic resources of persons responsible for, or otherwise providing financial, technical or material support to cyber-attacks or attempted cyber-attacks. These Regulations, laid by HM Treasury, put enforcement provisions in place for breaches of the financial sanctions contained in the Council Regulation and come into force on 11 June 2019.
7.In the accompanying Explanatory Memorandum (EM), the Department for Education (DfE) states that these Regulations make changes relating to the information which head teachers in maintained primary schools are required to include in the common transfer file (CTF), the purpose of which is to record information for transmission to a new school in the event that a pupil were to move school. The Department states that there is an existing requirement for schools and local authorities to use the CTF to send pupil data when a pupil transfers from one school to another, and that includes information about the pupil’s achievements to date. The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005 (“the 2005 Regulations”) require the CTF to include the results of national curriculum assessments taken by pupils at the end of any key stage completed. The Department states that it is amending the 2005 Regulations to add a requirement for the CTF to include the results of assessments which are taken at times other than the end of a key stage. The EM states that, in practice, this means that the CTF will include the results of the phonics screening check, which takes place during the first year of key stage one, and the multiplication tables check, which takes place during the second year of key stage two. The Department states that the purpose of this change is to ensure that teachers working in schools receiving pupils have access to important information that will help them to support pupils’ education in the future. The EM notes that consultation was carried out, including that the Department consulted with the Information Commissioner’s Office as required under Article 36(4) of the General Data Protection Regulation. Additional information provided by DfE (published at Appendix 1) notes that:
“The effect of the amendments made by these Regulations is to require the results of any statutory national curriculum assessment, as defined in the relevant Regulations, to be included in the CTF. This includes existing national curriculum assessments and will capture any new national curriculum assessments that may be introduced in the future. The introduction of any additional assessments would be subject to further legislation and consultation.”
1 Defra published a summary of consultation responses in December 2018. See Ban of commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England: [accessed 7 June 2019].
2 The e-petition, known as “Lucy’s law”, received 148,248 signatures and is named after a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who died in 2016 after having been treated poorly as a puppy.
3 The OPSS was set up within BEIS in January 2018, as part of the Government’s response to the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety. See: January 2018) [accessed 7 June 2019]. (21
4 See Office for Product Safety and Standards, Whirlpool Tumble Dryer Review (4 April 2019): [accessed 7 June 2019].
5 as regards the encouragement of long-term shareholder engagement.
6 Daniel Morgan Independent Panel, Protocol on Disclosure of Information: [accessed 7 June 2019].
8 Explanatory Memorandum (EM), para 2.1.
9 EM, para 7.2.
10 EM, para 7.3.
11 EM, para 10.3.
12 Additional Information, Appendix 1, answer to Q 3.
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